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Orlando Pride snatched an improbable victory from the jaws of defeat in front of 5,842 fans at Camping World Stadium this afternoon. The 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers came as midfielder Kristen Edmonds scored two goals in the final four minutes to lift the team to an important win.
For long spells Boston Breakers looked in control and a wild last few minutes saw the game turned on its head as Edmonds scored with a clinical free kick from the wing, bending the ball around Boston’s five-player wall and into the left side of the goal. The set piece was awarded after Brooke Elby fouled Jasmyne Spencer, earning her second yellow of the night and reducing the visitors to 10-players for injury time.
The third-year veteran then earned three points for the Pride as she bravely ran onto a pass from Leah Fortune and chipped Jami Kranich in the Boston goal. It was the last action she saw as she appeared to have been knocked out in the resulting collision with the keeper causing her teammates to mute their initial celebrations.
To be perfectly honest, it was a victory the Pride hardly deserved. Bottom placed Boston played with heart and desire and had taken a fifth minute lead as forward Mollie Pathman seized on a mistake by Pride goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage, who earned her first start after being signed by the Pride on Wednesday. That said, the game is about goals and Boston collapsed when Orlando changed their tactics for a more direct approach late in the game. It has to be said that for all the nice pretty, but ultimately ineffective possession, the home team is capable of scoring goals when it decides to play to its strengths rather than mess around with tippy-tappy football that leads nowhere.
It’s a trait that seems to run through the club nowadays with the MLS team being equally as guilty. Knock the ball around the back, try and move it through midfield, usually to one flank or the other, and then more often than not, lose it when looking for the killer pass.
The goals usually come when the team is chasing a goal whether it be for a draw or a win and this afternoon’s fixture proved no different. Given the club has pacey star forward Alex Morgan at its disposal it really is a wonder that the team doesn’t play a little more directly at times.
After Sunday’s victory, the Pride (6-6-0, 18 points) are now tied for fourth place with the Chicago Red Stars, setting up an important battle between the two teams next Saturday at Camping World Stadium.
“I think [the win] says a lot about the squad, not just about the team,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “I think what it says is we are a squad with depth, a squad that’s got players that are prepared to go in and do what we need to do to try and win games. [We’re] a squad that keeps going to the 90th minute.”
“We expected a tough game and we got a tough game. We knew what Boston was going to do and losing that early goal made life difficult,” Sermanni added. “It gave Boston that little bit of confidence to be able to sit in and defend and frustrate us. I was delighted the way we kept going and kept going.”
Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff against the Red Stars will mark the second and final time the two teams play this season, as Chicago defeated the Pride 1-0 on May 1 at Toyota Park. With that win, the Red Stars currently hold the tie break on the Pride for the final playoff spot.
Orlando Pride: Kaitlyn Savage; Cami Levin, Kaylyn Kyle, Toni Pressley, Sam Witteman; Becky Edwards (Christina Burkenroad 70’), Kristen Edmonds, Maddy Evans; Jasmyne Spencer, Sarah Hagen (Dani Weatherholt 70’), Jamia Fields (Leah Fortune 79’)
Substitutes Not Used: Megan Dorsey; Kim Reynolds; Allie Wisner, Sierra Lelii
Boston Breakers: Jami Kranich; Christen Westphal (Elise Krieghoff 34’), Julie King, Kassey Kallman, Brooke Elby; Angela Salem, Katie Schoepfer (Rachel Wood 54’), Louise Schillgard; Mollie Pathman, Eunice Beckmann (Brittany Ratcliffe 77’), Stephanie McCaffery
Substitutes Not Used: Libby Stout; Stephanie Verdoia, Kristie Mewis
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com